Jarrid Houston and Jake Wallace head to the St. Louis River for some first ice crappies, bluegills and perch; and find a great backwater panfish bite.

St. Louis River Backwater Panfish

The St. Louis River offers some great backwater panfish opportunities for anglers around Duluth, Minnesota. Over the past few years there have been several restoration projects completed on the St. Louis River that have really improved the quality of the fishery.

Due to these restoration efforts anglers can find and catch trophy caliber bluegills and crappies in many of the backwater bays during the winter months.

Most of these fish can be caught with a one-two punch combination of a jigging and dead stick presentation. We like to punch two holes about a foot or two apart.

In one hole we are jigging fairly aggressively. With the jigging set up we usually like to use small tungsten jigs paired with a couple of waxworms.

In the other hole we have a dead stick set up. Our dead stick setups are a simple spilt-shot down to a small jig or plain hook with a live crappie minnow.

A lot of times you will notice these panfish will come into your jigging rod and then move over and hit your deadstick.

It is a deadly one- two combo for these monster panfish.

The first ice panfish bite is really solid on the St. Louis, but you can chase these fish all year long out here in the backwaters.